New Jersey terror suspects plead guilty

Last Updated: Friday, March 4, 2011 - 20:53

New York: The two New Jersey men, who
planned to travel to Somalia to join an al Qaeda linked group
and attack American troops, on Friday pleaded guilty to a
conspiracy charge in a federal court.

Mohamed Mahmood Alessa, 20, and Carlos Eduardo
Almonte, 24, had been charged with conspiring to kill, kidnap
or maim persons outside the United States. If convicted, they
could be in prison for life.

"One of the goals of organisations like Al Shabab and
Al Qaeda is to influence people both here and abroad to get
them to join the fight," Paul J Fishman, the US attorney for
New Jersey, said after the hearing.

"We are very, very focused in New Jersey and around
the country on combating that threat," he was quoted by The
New York Times as saying.

The two men were arrested at John F Kennedy airport in
New York in June before they took separate flights to Egypt
from where they were heading to Somalia to join al Shabaab,
the Islamist group, which controls large parts of the country
and is fighting against the Western-backed Transitional
Federal Government.

Carlos, whose father is a Dominican immigrant,
reportedly converted to radical Islam and changed his name to
Omar after high school when he stared hanging out with Alessa.

Alessa, who is of Palestinian descent, was reportedly
a dangerous teen who was kicked out of his high school in
North Bergen New Jersey.

The criminal complaint states that the two American
citizens prepared for their mission by working out in the gym,
doing test runs at paintball fields, saving thousands of
dollars, buying cargo pants, listening to videos especially
the ones by radical American-Yemeni cleric Anwar Al Awalaki,
and reading documents authored by Osama bin Laden and Ayman

"A lot of people need to get killed bro, swear to
God. I have to get an assault rival and just kill anyone that
even looks at me the wrong way bro," said Almonte to Alessa
and a New York City undercover cop who recorded the
conversation in November 2009.

"Nah, I swear to God bro. I wanna like I’m not my
soul cannot rest until I shed blood, I wanna like, be the
world`s known terrorist. I swear to God," he added.

The arrest of the two men came on the heels of a chain
of failed attacks on US soil, including a botched car bombing
of the Times Square by a Pakistani born American Faisal
Shahzad on May 1 and the failed Christmas Day bombing of an
airliner over Detroit by a Nigerian.

Another Pakistan-American and a former college student
from Brooklyn, Syed Hashmi, received 15 years in prison for
aiding al Qaeda last year.

The arrests on Saturday were culmination of Operation
Arabian Knight, which involved a New York cop infiltrating the
inner circle of the suspects. Federal undercover agents
secretly recorded the duo making statements to promote violent

"We`ll start doing killing here, if I can`t do it over
there," Almonte allegedly said in November 2009, according to
the criminal complaint.


First Published: Friday, March 4, 2011 - 20:53

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